College Students Take Part in Undergraduate Apprenticeship Program

by Rashad Mulla

College Students Take Part in Undergraduate Apprenticeship Program

At George Mason University, graduate students and faculty members aren’t the only ones conducting high-end academic research. In the fall 2010 semester, 19 undergraduates took part in the university’s highly competitive Undergraduate Apprenticeship Program.

In the program, students spend a semester researching an original project, aided by the expertise of a professor.

Both students and faculty members register concurrently, and well in advance of the semester – the deadline for the spring 2011 program was Nov. 19, 2010. Selected students receive a $1,000 stipend and valuable research experience.

“The Undergraduate Apprenticeship Program allows students to work very closely with faculty in their fields and gain a deeper perspective on their majors,” said LaNitra Berger, director of fellowships and the Undergraduate Apprenticeship Program, which is housed in the Honors College. “And students who graduate from Mason will need research skills regardless of what they do after graduation.”

Here are five duos of faculty and students from within the College of Humanities and Social Sciences:

Professor Eden King, Psychology
Junior Sabrina Speights, Psychology

In her project, which is also part of the Honors in the Psychology Major three-semester research program, Speights addresses workplace discrimination on the basis of gender, race and physical attractiveness. She takes the research even further by studying the perceptions and viewpoints of targets of discrimination.

Professor Michelle Greet, History and Art History
Sophomore Kelsey Wilkens, double major in History and Art History

In her project, titled “Contemporary Art and the Urban Landscape in Berlin,” Wilkens explores the city’s artistic landscape, which has been shaped by a number of dramatic events in recent history. This project describes how the contemporary art scene relates to Berlin’s physical environment.

Professor Jeannie Brown Leonard, Bachelor of Individualized Study
Senior Conner Morgan, English

Morgan served as a writing fellow for Leonard’s BIS 390 class, providing writing consultations and workshops for the students in the class. She met regularly with students to discuss how to improve assignments, and with Leonard after the semester, to discuss the course requirements.

”Conner is an advanced peer who understands my expectations,” Leonard said. “She can be very effective about translating these expectations and offering constructive, direct feedback on student writing. I am convinced that her presence elevates the importance of writing in the class in the minds of students.”

Professor Keith Renshaw, Psychology
Senior Ruth Jackson, Psychology

Jackson explores issues specific to intercultural romantic relationships, namely how communication and individual culture are linked to satisfaction within these relationships. The research is important because intercultural relationships are increasing in number, but not necessarily quality.

As of the year 2000, six percent of married couples in the United States were interracial, up from less than one percent in 1970. Despite this increase, 41 percent of interracial couples divorce by the 10th year of marriage, compared to only 31 percent for couples of the same race.

Professor James Sanford, Psychology
Senior Kelly Hughes, Psychology

Hughes explores the relationship between creative cognition and illusory (false) memory. Using a measure of creativity and a paradigm that reliably leads people to remember words they did not study, she illuminates the relationship between creative cognition and illusory memory while examining the cognitive structures that support these constructs.